Archer and Armstrong #1 Review: A Mess
Religion, politics and good storytelling rarely make a good combination. There some exceptions like “V for Vendetta,” ‘1984” and ‘Ben Hur,” but “Archer and Armstrong,” a new comic by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry, published by Valiant Comics, is one those stories that try that mixture and fail miserably.
The story’s about Obadiah Archer, a teenager who was raised in a Creationist Museum-like amusement park/commune hybrid where he was trained in every martial art and, apparently, lockpicking. His mission is to go to New York, an “isle of corruption and criminality,” and kill someone called “He Who is Not to be Named” with the “Sword of Righteousness.”
The comic reads just like those “Left Behind” books with an overemphasis on Christianity, how Christianity is right and how corrupt the rest of the world is with such lines as “…Manhattan is a rat’s nest of Liberal Marxist Atheist Nazis.” Just look at how the comic portrays New York. A bar that has women’s bras hanging over the bar? Really?
Not to mention the comic had to throw in a Freemason conspiracy theory just for good measure. With all this religious and political drama going on the comic fails to create any kind of good story, good characters or even a likable premise.
The artwork is your typical Valiant Comics fare, but not without some flaws. For example Obadiah’s girlfriend, Mary-Maria, looks creepy. Not to mention her face (not expression, face) completely changes from one panel to another. The characters also aren’t as nicely defined as their previous incarnations, which makes looking at them a chore.
“Archer and Armstrong #1” is a religious and political mess of a comic with a bad story, unlikeable characters, poor setting and a ridiculous concept. Overuse of politics and religion is the downfall of this comic and will cause any comic reader to throw this one into the chimney. Valiant has proven they’re capable of making good comics, but “Archer and Armstrong” is their worst comic to date.
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